Friday 3 April 2015

Blogging Holy Week: Maundy Thursday

Tne Triduum starts.

“Christ in Gethsemane” by Michael O’Brien.
Go to for more from the artist.
That sounds rather churchy and maybe just a little bit bewildering for those who don't really get that sort of thing. The Easter holiday for the schools started today, and traffic chaos is promised on the radio as the country seems to decide to travel to wherever the other bit of the country that is travelling comes from.  The promise of Bank Holiday entertainment looms large.

So what is this Triduum thing?

The days at the end of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and on to Easter Day itself - there is a certain intensity about stepping into a one-to-one scale model of the last week of Jesus' normal human life.  Others have discussed this in some detail, such as here. This does actually fit rather neatly into the Bank Holiday spirit - the Passover in Jerusalem 2000 years ago was just such a major holiday, and the excitement of what spectacles might be on offer (maybe even some crucifixions!) might have had the travelling crowds eager to gather for the weekend.

But today is Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper. Bread and Wine. Footwashing. Misunderstanding (as usual, poor disciples...). Tears like blood in Gethesemane. Betrayal. Finally, open hostility and attack from the threatened political and religious leaders.  A lot that would make a fine, dark drama. As it is.

The day that ran by? A funeral in the morning. Dark and light at that, and a dry spell as the coffin found its rest. Eucharist, stripping of the sanctuary and a time of vigil in a dark and cooling church.  And children off from school, ceilidhs and carry outs. Readings photocopied and allocated for the continuing Triduum.  Snags with some of those jobs that really could do with being done.  Even some odd impulses: new wheels on the nave altar to make pushing it away to its place smoother for the ritual stripping and clearing.

It has all started in earnest now.  The mixture of stepping into the narrative from two millenia ago clashes with the ordinary nature of our life. But that's what it's supposed to do...

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